Absolutely fantastic fantasy series set in a world resembling parts of Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. Each kingdom is beautifullAbsolutely fantastic fantasy series set in a world resembling parts of Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. Each kingdom is beautifully fleshed out, and the array of mythologies, creatures, and cultures is imaginative and fascinating. I loved many of the characters, but especially Samarkar, the once-Princess who is now a Wizard, and Hrahima, a giant cat-person. A terrific antidote to your typical fantasy obsessed with Western Europe and a nice counter to Orientalist claptrap.
Only downside is that the book ends very abruptly, but if you'll excuse me I'm going to read the sequel now. ...more
I liked this book a lot. A teen romance set in 1986 (perfect) among two misfits (perfect) with a lot of alternative/geek culture thrown in. The romancI liked this book a lot. A teen romance set in 1986 (perfect) among two misfits (perfect) with a lot of alternative/geek culture thrown in. The romance is very romantic, but it's also romantic in that insanely fervent high school way. I myself had an epic high school romance (that ended horribly, but what are you going to do) and this immediately threw me back to all those feelings of the first makeout session and the amazingness of knowing the person you likes wants to talk to you on the phone and stuff like that. My very first boyfriend of all time was also an Asian guy who really liked comic books and cool music (the Cure, Depeche Mode, etc- hey it was 1990), so I could totally relate. And the female protagonist has a really awful home life and is dirt poor, and this is drawn very beautifully and tragically and really makes you realize how shitty being a teenager is when you can't trust the people who are supposed to take care of you. You guys will love it. ...more
Wow, I guess I am a big ol' cynic because I thought this book was pretty cheesy. Lou is a working-class chick who gets laid off (excuse me, made redunWow, I guess I am a big ol' cynic because I thought this book was pretty cheesy. Lou is a working-class chick who gets laid off (excuse me, made redundant) from her cafe job and gets a new gig looking after a quadriplegic dude. The guy used to be a Master of the Universe, bungee-jumping, world-traveling, hot chick magnet, and he's pretty miserable with his new existence. I can't say much more without spoiling it, but there were elements of this book that didn't ring true to me and so made it hard for me to form a real emotional connection. Lou, for example, is a bit generic. It's honestly hard for me to believe that a 27 year old would be happy living at home, working in a cafe, dating a really boring marathon runner, and not have any other interests or hobbies or any aspirations.... until she's inspired by a guy in a wheelchair (sigh). Like, she doesn't know how to use the internet, until she gets really good at it and then she's awesome! And she wears really crazy stylish vintage clothes although she has no personality. These things for me do not compute. I felt like the author was trying to write a working-class character, but couldn't really figure out how except to give her a crappy job.
Anyway, it was OK but not my favorite. If you LOVE chicklit, though (Rebekah I'm looking at you) you might want to check it out given that all the other reviews are five-stars, "this book made me feel all the feelings" type of things. ...more
This is a dumb book attempting to capitalize on the success of much better books like The Historian. The main character is purportedly a Milton scholaThis is a dumb book attempting to capitalize on the success of much better books like The Historian. The main character is purportedly a Milton scholar who specializes in Paradise Lost, a professor at Columbia, although his complete lack of professorial qualities makes me think the author's research included perhaps reading Paradise Lost as an undergrad. Anyhoo, this professor gets approached by a creepy woman to go to Venice and meet with someone. While in Venice, a lot of weird shit goes down, and a tragedy occurs. The professor and his BFF go on a wacky road trip that reminds me of my badly-written first NaNoWriMo novel, in that every time the author writes himself into a plot hole, the protagonist randomly decides to go somewhere else, pursued by demons all the while. I doggedly finished the novel based on sheer perseverance, but I didn't enjoy it and you won't either. ...more
I really enjoyed this YA fantasy novel about a deadly assassin who's sprung from a deadly prison so she can fight to the death in a deadly competitionI really enjoyed this YA fantasy novel about a deadly assassin who's sprung from a deadly prison so she can fight to the death in a deadly competition. The assassin? A teenage girl. This reminded me quite a bit of Maria Snyder's study books, or Tamora Pierce's Alanna series, in that there's a significant element about a heroine becoming in full control of her powers, although Celaena is a total badass in her own right even after wasting away in a prison. Yes, she's a little bit of a Mary Sue, but she's flawed enough not to be totally ridiculous, and I just totally love that everyone is wetting their pants over this 17 year old girl. Very Buffy. ...more